I don’t know if I could call it a “date” per se, but he was there, I was there, there were candles on the table and pasta on plates.
Well, to be fair, there were about seven other people and I may not have been sitting the furthest away from him, but it was close. He had come to our school to speak, and as a recent member of the Forum Planning Committee, I snuck in on the pre-lecture dinner reservation. It would be an exaggeration to say that he and I had a conversation that night, but he did ask me once if I was the kind of Indian that wore a diamond on my forehead. And to prove my true appreciation for his writing, I had no sarcastic response for him.
His lecture was great. I remember him doing a bit about story arcs– the conventional arc, exceptions to the conventional arc, and the Kafka story arc, which is basically just straight descent. The rest of it is fuzzy. I remember that the hall was packed because there were students there from colleges in Alabama and Louisiana. There was a guy in the front row who asked Vonnegut what his favorite vegetable was, and Vonnegut started singing and left the stage mid-sentence and mid-song.
Nothing beats Welcome to the Monkey House, which is the first thing of his that I ever read. It’s possible that all the sexy stuff was what got me hooked when I was thirteen, but I’m sure that now that’s been replaced with a serious, mature understanding of his craft and socio-politics.
Who am I kidding? Long Walk to Forever is still my favorite because it’s a sappy love story.
I haven’t read his last few books, but I am sad that there will be no more.